I saw it yesterday on the off chance the critics were right and this really was an authentic rom-com. I was a touch worried people’s critical faculties – not least my own – would have been lowered out of nostalgia for Gandolfini, but having reflected on it for a day now, I’m fairly convinced. The film certainly achieves significant emotional and ethical maturity. It manages to muster humour out of what is, on reflection, a pretty deceptive and sinister set-up, but it does so whilst still giving due attention to the harm the protagonist causes when her secrets inevitably unravel. There’s a great moment when she pleads, in apologising, that she didn’t know what to do, only to face the reply that she did know; she just didn’t do it.
And Gandolfini is, of course, wonderful. I suspect the film benefits greatly from the fact that the couple are middle aged and one of them is so non-stereotypically attractive. Half a dozen clichés are thereby avoided immediately. And his softness – helped, perhaps counter-intuitively, by the addition of a beard – is really far too convincing in the contrast it creates with the obnoxious, explosive Tony Soprano that we’d grown to know him as. It’s worth a look-in, at least until Cuaron’s Gravity arrives next week.